By Lillian Donahue | April 16, 2020 at 12:55 PM EDT - Updated April 16 at 1:11 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Roper St. Francis Healthcare can now return on-site COVID-19 test results in around 45 minutes after starting lab tests inside the hospital.
Labs at Roper Hospital in downtown Charleston and Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital in West Ashley are currently running the quick tests.
Clinical Laboratories Director Rick McEvoy said before they had the proper equipment and protocols, Roper hospitals have been sending all tests to off-site labs, extending the wait time for patients.
“So before the timeline was a turnaround time of 24 hours for some labs, up to nine or 10 days for other labs,” McEvoy said. “When we started testing, we had a patient arrive in the emergency department received a chest CT scan and we returned a positive COVID result in less than 45 minutes. So that allowed us to place the patient in isolation and protect our teammates and start the proper treatment of the patient all within about an hour.”
The hospitals started in-house testing Wednesday morning and have since tested 19 patients using their new method.
Laboratory Director Vanessa Shamrock said staff has worked for three to four weeks to bring tests to the hospitals and they are currently training at Berkeley Hospital and Mount Pleasant Hospital.
“We will be going live with them sometime next week,” Shamrock said. “So, when we are fully deployed across four of our hospitals, we will be able to do just over 300 in a 24-hour period.”
Labs at the Medical University of South Carolina are also using on-site testing.
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